Pædagogens rolle og betydning for trivsel i børnehaven: Børneinformerede perspektiver på professionelle voksne

Koch, A. B.
Nordic Studies in Education 36, 193-210.


The purpose of this study is to examine a children group's experiences with and perspectives on specific preschool staff (for example preschool teachers and assistant teachers) in their preschool shortly after leaving the preschool. The study examines what the children think of the teachers and their roles. Moreover, the study investigates the importance of the teachers' choice of role with regard to the children's experience of well-being.


In the first sub-analysis, the authors found four categories of teacher roles: the nurturer, the controller, the mentor and the playmate. According to the author, the nurturer is a warm, loving, appreciative and attentive adult who the children seek out when they are sad, insecure or anxious. The nurturer offers company and a sense of security. The controller represents the control in the preschool, structures everyday activities, monitors everyday life, focusses on violation of rules and helps come up with fair solutions. The mentor is an intriguing adult who makes up new activities, is creative and good at motivating the children. The mentor typically plans pedagogical programmes and initiates specific activities. The playmate is fun and spontaneous, and comes up with quirky and atypical ideas. The playmate is often referred to as the children's favourite adult.

In the second sub-analysis, the four types of adult are positioned in relation to play, caregiving, response and instructions. The playmate is almost an equal participant in the children's own play, whereas the mentor initiates play and activities on the basis of didactic considerations. The nurturer provides direct care to the child, whereas the controller is more likely to provide care by preventing problems, solving conflicts and ensuring justice. The nurturer responds to the children's immediate need for security and intimacy, whereas the playmate responds to the children's play initiatives. The mentor and the controller are both concerned about instructions, organisation and management.

The third sub-analysis examines the importance of the teachers' roles for the children's experience of well-being. The author focusses particularly on happiness which is about direct well-being, contentment which is about indirect well-being, comfort which is about the experienced well-being here and now, and welfare which is about children being well and thriving in their onward journey in life. The results show that the playmate and the mentor create direct well-being and happiness in preschool. The nurturer and the controller work for well-being at a more indirect level. They watch out for signs of the children not thriving and try to remedy the problems. The playmate and the nurturer work for well-being in a comfort perspective, as they highlight the children's well-being and happiness here and now. The mentor and the controller work for well-being in a welfare perspective by aiming at some defined competences that the children can use in the future.


The data material consists of semi-structured interviews with 11 6-year-old children on their experiences with the teachers in three preschools. The children met with the researcher over a period of two months, and in small groups they visited the former preschool they had left three months earlier. During the visit, the children were asked to take photos of the places in which they had carried out activities with their teachers. The children subsequently shared stories about the teachers, while showing their photos. The data material also consists of a group interview, in which all 11 children talked about the teachers at their former preschool. Data was analysed using a narrative approach.


Koch, A. B. (2016). Pædagogens rolle og betydning for trivsel i børnehaven: Børneinformerede perspektiver på professionelle voksne. Nordic Studies in Education 36, 193-210.

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